Starting the mother tongue with the language and culture


from the historical aspects of approaching errors, we will first look at the structuralist approach that sees the
error as the negative transfer of the mother tongue, and sets the contradictory
linguistic studies to the center of interest with the aim of predicting  the mistakes to be made. Such a theoretical
linguistic approach is actually a mirror of what follows, a new reference to a
language based on a didactic approach in order to ”compare the language and
culture of the mother tongue with the language and culture of a foreign one, to
see the difficulties that transcend through perception and tracing” (Lado,
1957: 2, in Selinker, 1992: 10). On the other hand, we have a formalistic approach to the notion of
error, which is reflected in the denial of such attitudes, assuming that if the
language is taught by strict rules, there can be no negative impact of the
mother tongue, that is, interference.

If we take into account
the communicative approach, the
attitude towards making errors is a radical change. A completely different
picture is pointed out, based on the comparison of the system and the subsystem
L1 with L2. Here, creativity in learning the language of both mother and
foreign language is expressed. First of all, it refers to language learning
through imitation, stories, images, and this includes the comparison of the
structures and meanings of a foreign language with the mother tongue, for the
purpose of easier understanding, that is, of understanding constructions. What
should certainly be pointed out, which refers to a communicative approach, is
that the error here is shown as an instant deviation, that is, an incorrectly
expressed thought, which may also be the result of an inadequate learning
strategy, and not just the influence of the mother tongue on the side
Ciliberti, 1995: 160).?Some mistakes manifest
themselves as silent  rules by those who learn, some are
typical through the transfer of the mother tongue, some are immediately
corrected and disappeared, and some that are not corrected, but as such
adopted, pose the risk of fossilization.” Andorno (Andorno, 2008: 1).

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The term
fossilization was first introduced by Selinker (Selinker, L. and Lakshmanan, U.,1992:
39) starting from the fact that most of the older speakers never reach the
level of knowledge of the foreign language’s native speaker’s language. As a reason
for this, Selinker cites the fact that the adoption of a mother tongue, in
fact, forms the basis and norm for the adoption of a foreign language. Han,
Long and Birdsong (Han, 2003; Long, 2003; Birdsong, 2004) describe
fossilization through three main areas. Han (2003: 24) divides fossilization
into global and local, where he further says that global fossilization refers to the entire interlanguage (IL),
making it unlikely that any other foreign language can interfere with the
interlanguage (Han 2003). This particularly applies to grammar and the adoption
of grammatical rules, where inaccurate constructions bring into question the
whole chain of constructions, which reaches the discourse itself.

On the other
hand, according to Selinker’s words, fossilization can be at the local level, which implies a linguistic
subsystem (synaptic, for example), or even within that subsystem a simple past tense. According to Schmitt
(Schmidth, 1983: 56), fossilisation can be further referred to as a product and
process. He speaks of the product as ?temporarily frozen knowledge, either
global or local”, and this definition came from Selinker and Laksmanen (1992:
197), that “phosylation is a long-term persistence of attempts to adopt
structures similar to those that are not the target language in the structures
of interlanguage of non-native speakers.  Speaking about the process, Selinker (1972)
speaks of fossilization as the mechanism of psychological linguistic structures
first referred to by Leneberg (Lenneberg, 1967), which states that 95% of
students learning a foreign language encounter “current barriers” in
the process of adopting the target language.

relationship between the process – the product, leads us to think, whether the
term fossilization refers to a condition that can be explored directly, or this
relates to a cognitive process that is indirectly accessed by Han (2003, 2004).
Han further defines the process as empirical predictions, and states that
evidence of fossilisation can exist without evidence that learning is
completely stopped, even if it speaks of the product, states that there is no
evidence that fossilization must indicate the occurrence of interlingualism.
(Ashley Fidler, 2006: 399).

The previously mentioned
different items appear for a number of reasons. One of them is actually a lack
of motivation to deal with corrections, then fear of conflict based on
socio-cultural integration, and then the fear of the linguistic sensibilities
that each individual possesses. Brown (1987: 24) states that the adoption of
non-corrected forms enters the order of the learning process of those forms
that are corrected, although in the first case we are talking about learning,
and in the second about fossilization. In other words, learning in this case
refers to corrected forms of a foreign language, while fossilization is a
constant use of accentuated errors.
Brown (Brown, H.D. 1994: 204) compares the acquisition of
a foreign language with the process of performing swimming techniques, stating
that we learn to swim by first jumping into the water, we move our heads and
arms without aim until we understand that there is a structural combination of
movements, that allows us to hold on the surface and move on the water. According
to him, the first mistakes in swimming learning are big, and then gradually they
begin to disappear. We were making the mistakes, but we learned to swim. (Brown,
1994:  204) The same can be said about the process of learning a foreign language, that
is, when approaching the learning process, we make a lot of mistakes in the
beginning, but over time, mastering the material, these errors become minor and
sporadic, and in the end we can say that we have learned a foreign language.

The nature of … error development is not
straightforward. Different trends can be observed: some errors decrease with L2
proficiency, some increase temporarily, while others show instability and then
finally end up disappearing, and other errors fossilize, that is, they become
permanent in learners’ interlanguage. (M.ª PiLar Agustín Llach, 2015: 110).